This blog's mission is simple--to encourage moms who are married to non-Catholics and raising their children in the Faith. If you know a mom who needs a little encouragement in continuing her efforts, I would be delighted if you would share Kathleen's Catholic with her. Thank you!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

"Dad's not Catholic. So why should I be?"

by Kathleen Blease

I surprised our son one day. He was preparing for his Confirmation, and I felt it was important to have a heart-to-heart talk. I explained that while he will still need instruction in the Faith, that, in fact, it would become his responsibility to open his heart to the catechism and take it seriously. It was no longer just something Mom wanted. Confirmation should be something he wanted. I needed to know: Does he want to say Yes?

His first thought came out right away and I knew it had been looming for a few years: "Hey, Dad's not Catholic--and you love him--so why should I be? Dad hasn't said Yes, so why should I?"

Hmm. This was the question I had been dreading since my children were baptized as little babies. What would I tell them when they pointed out the obvious theological differences between their own parents? Over the years, I decided to let it be until the right time came to address it.

I thought on this a bit and Christ handed me the answer--simple and obvious.

I pointed out : "Ah, but Dad did say Yes!"

"What? No!! Then why hasn't he converted?"

"Oh, yes, conversion. Well, saying Yes to God's will is the first step, and Dad's been saying Yes since before you were born."

"Get out! He did not!"

Yes, indeed, my husband has been saying Yes since we first married sixteen years ago. I, however, was too driven to pray for his conversion that I didn't see his giant steps toward God. It was only when I was preparing my son for his Confirmation did I realize the truth. Raised without a faith in any way, my husband has been on a spiritual journey just as valid and blessed as my own. We were on the same path, just not in tandem.

My sweetheart said Yes to marrying in the Church, which included six weeks of pre-Cana instruction, something he embraced with a good attitude, happy to do the homework and to participate in the various exercises. He said Yes to baptizing our babies. He said Yes to all their preparations to receive the sacraments, and he said Yes to homeschooling them in their Faith each and every day.

He could have said No. As the head of the house, he could have changed his mind after our wedding ceremony and said No to raising our children Catholic. He could have said No to any of the Catholic traditions I was accustomed to through my Catholic upbringing. He could have said No to the Catholic items that are displayed in our home.

But my non-Catholic husband is indeed on a journey. He bought for me a statue of The Queen of Peace, he took me to the Vatican for our tenth anniversary, he cried at my grandmother's funeral when he listened to the priest's homily, and in little ways he became a defender of the Faith to his atheistic friends and family. These things he did quietly and without fervor.

"Yeah, your Dad said Yes. So, it's time for you to make the decision. It's all up to you."


Then he said the words every Catholic mom wants to hear.

"Okay, I'm in."

God bless.


  1. Great, heartwarming story. Thanks for sharing! Rog is a special guy!

  2. Your post made me smile from ear to ear. How wonderful. You both did something right. I love your response to your son. God works miracles with deeds and words. So happy that your son "is in". God Bless!

  3. @ anonymous: I'll second that!

    @ Mike: Thanks for your lovely comment!

  4. What a beautiful story Kathleen.

    Sometimes we miss what is right in front of us or not see how our prayers are being answered. Even so, God does not give up - He just tells us!

  5. Beautiful! Never thought that way about "yes" before. My dad is Baptist but my husband came from a huge Catholic homeschooling family. Only about 2 years ago he decided he doesn't believe anymore and will no longer come to church with us. I'm working on his conversion, but finding myself on the same path as my mom raising a "split" family. Which is a path I didn't think that I chose for myself. Sigh. I just had to read this when I saw the title. Thanks for sharing!

  6. @George: Thanks so much. Your conversion story keeps us hopeful!

    @Lacy: My heart felt a little tug when I read about your husband's decision to not attend Mass. Hang in there! We can do a great service to our spouses if we keep praying for them! We can also attend Mass for them, and put their daily challenges on the altar on their behalf. Pretty amazing what the Mass can do for us! :-)Thanks for sharing!

  7. Dear All,

    If you are raising your children Catholic by yourself, and attending Mass as a "single parent," you might be interested in this little post, called My Envy At Mass Was Finally Put Away.

  8. Thank you Kathleen for your posts about raising our Catholic children with a non-Catholic husband. Very encouraging to me was your suggestion of offering our husband's needs at the altar. God bless you.

  9. I just found your blog through Catholic Mother's Online Blogroll. I am so glad I did. I am a Catholic mother married to a man who is not Catholic, or baptised in any denomination for that matter. I remember having envy of other families at Mass too. My husband does now come with us every Sunday though, thank you Lord, but I still experience many jealous moments as I witness the lives and marriages of Catholic couples.


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